By Afolabi Aribigbola
This last week I was in Lagos for a function and along the road I saw many people needing help but could not get any and resulted to begging to survive the hard time. In the course of the trip, I also saw many people sleeping in shanty or houses usually referred to as make-shift structures not qualified to be called houses to protect them and their families from climatic elements of rain and hot tropical sunshine common in Nigeria.
What baffled me the most was the sight of human beings without housing and have to be sleeping along the major roads. Of course, some people will insist that it is only insane people that are found in the category of people sleeping along the road. Whatever is their circumstances, as human beings they still deserve to be properly housed as the standard practice universally. I must reiterate that this unwholesome development is not peculiar to Lagos alone but a common feature of most of our major cities particularly the state capitals where majority are deprived of the essential basic services that make for good living.
Unfortunately, this dehumanising condition is mounting without the deserving concern, attention and actions from the governments, and organisations so as to be able to assist the poor and vulnerable groups in Nigeria. Indeed, I tried to interrogate the scenarios presented above and the hullaballoo generated since the demise of Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba , known popularly and professionally as MohBad by Nigerians including governments and organisations to the unfortunate death of this promising young Nigerian whose dream have been cut short. And the fact that many of such young Nigerians that have been sent to their early graves unsung because of poor policies, weak or lack of interventions and actions to addressing their challenges and the humongous rising social vices confronting the youth in country.
From available information, the young Ilerioluwa has gotten himself entangled in some unwholesome destructive activities that ultimately consumed him because of no concrete positive interventions. Of course I do not have the full facts of his past dealings but comments and write ups so far revealed that series of events occurred before he finally departed to the world beyond.
Ironically, the events that culminated in his eventual death were happening without anyone or group to intervene to assist him only for some people to come with insinuations after the death of the young man. This development portrays the poor ways of handling welfare and care of people especially the downtrodden in Nigeria. Unfortunately since the tragic loss of the young man, individuals and groups have been doing one thing or the other to show they care and are set to assist his immediate family. Many are all out to secure justice for him hinging their position on their assertion that some individuals and groups were responsible for his untimely death.
These were actions they did not institute to assist MohBad when he was alive depressed and confused. Such actions are now being deplored to ensure justice for him and assist his family. This is not to suggest that what people and individuals including the government are doing are entirely out of place, but it is like most of them are belated. Elsewhere, there are policies and functioning agencies to assist depressed members of the society that are in serious problems. This is not the situation in Nigeria where organisations and people act after things have gone awful. Instead of forestalling irreversible damage, Nigerian’s organisations act after crisis or final destruction.
For instance, the police that failed to thoroughly investigate MohBad’s petition of threat to his life because he did not come forward to defend it, was swift to swing into action to exhume his decomposing remains for autopsy. They claimed he did not come to defend the petition. Someone submitted a well thought out petition you failed to carry out your duty on the pretext that the complainant did not come to defend it. They abdicated their onerous role of protecting life and securing life under threat. Do people need to defend a well thought out and signed petition before investigation. Is it not their responsibility to prevent crime? Is writing a frivolous or fake petition itself not a criminal offence that can be prosecuted. The failure of the police contributed to the ugly development and consequently their current efforts, though required, is an afterthought after they have failed in their reasonability to protect him as required.
Also, the deficiency of social support system for the citizens of Nigeria also contributed to sending the young man to his early grave. Instead for MohBad to be treated by competent medical personnel, we were told that a nurse that the nursing association claimed not to be their member injected him. Is it not part of their responsibility to stamp out quackery in the profession? Is it the duty of a nurse to handle the medical condition presented by MohBad. In a sane clime where the welfare of people areof paramount importance to government this would not happen. The young man and some of the leaders of his group were said to have been arrested and detained by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) sometimes in the past for drug related offences. What became the outcome of the case, were they cleared and declared free of indulging in illicit drugs? Also, concerning the youth and other individuals protesting the death on MohBad and seeking justice for him, though a good and commendable efforts, but where were they when the young man and his cohorts were said to be indulging in various dangerous escapade including drug addiction and what has been their efforts or activities in curtailing the rising menace of drug abuse and the use of banned substances in the country that are destroying the lives of many equally promising youths in the country.
These are some of the issues that made one to conclude that the deficiencies, incompetence and rot in Nigeria more than any other thing is responsible for the death of the star in MohBad. Until the ongoing autopsy is concluded, it will be excessive to speculate the cause of his untimely death. However, above revealed that more than anything the deficient system in operation in the country and the failure of institutions to handle human related problems and their failure to address growing nefarious and criminal activities including drug abuse contributed ultimately to the untimely death of the young man. It is also indicative of the hypocritical tendencies and practices prevalent in the Nigerian society. Many individuals that are crying foul play now were aware of MohBad situation but failed to intervene only to become active at his demise. Quite an iron of events and development in our society.
Perhaps governments especially the Lagos State government and responsible agencies have discharged their responsibility faithfully , the crisis at hand may not have happen in the first instance and the young man still be around with us. Of course what this presupposes was that the governments at all levels in Nigeria should take the welfare of Nigerians more seriously and should come up with both proactive and problems solving policies to take care of the excesses of the youths that are expanding because of the growing influence of social and other media in disseminating dangerous lifestyles and events to them. The parents need to show more interest and commitment to the welfare and life style of their children. The Nigerian society need not to continue to witness evil acts before actions. There is a need to invigorate preventive measures to prevent the youths from indulging in criminal destructive activities to secure their future and that of the country.